Show Us Who You Are

The real you is dying to burst through the clouds.

You have much to offer the world.

Break through; show the world your stuff.

Don’t be afraid; don’t worry about being accepted.

It’s time to stop trying to impress others with a false persona.

The time has come to make an impact on the world with the real you.

You are astonishing just as you are; you brighten the world.

You shine like there is no tomorrow.

Push your way through; live for today.

The real you is bigger than life.

Stop hiding and let the world see you.

Touch the world, warm hearts, radiate with all your might.

Of Blooms And Berries

I hope you will go out and let stories happen to you, and that you will work them, water them with your blood and tears and laughter till they bloom, till you yourself burst into bloom. ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Spring blooms of the Pyracantha bush

What a beautiful thing it is to blossom; yet an even greater thing to bear fruit.

When we bloom, we announce our arrival to the world.

When we produce results, we show the world we are ready for action. We help make the world go round.

Experience is the key element that separates a dainty flower and a bold berry. One is showy; pretty and fragrant. The other has substance.

Every bud holds hope. The bloom is the birth of a dream, and the fruit its delivery.

We each hold within us a bud of hope, and we each have the power to assure our own delivery.

Go ahead and bloom, but don’t stop there. Be bold, bright, and brilliant. Set the world on fire.

Winter berries of the Pyracantha bush

Expose yourself to the possibility of doing something remarkable. ~ C. Cunningham

Living in the Gap

April 26, 2012 – Three Amigos (and one little irritant!)

One squirrel is tightly wrapped around the “baffle” bird feeder” shaking his feather duster to the delight of a squirrel watching from atop the fence and one awaiting the grub on the ground. They scurry, scuttle, and scrounge, devouring all they can stuff into their mouths. Along comes Wylie full force to rescue the bird feeder (or is she really just trying to catch one of those rascals?)…One squirrel zips up the cedar tree, one beneath the fence to the neighbor’s yard, and the other climbs the fence and perches himself on the shed to watch for Wylie’s departure. Baffled by the feeder? Not at all; they’ve got this thing figured out. It’s simply a swinging smorgasbord.

Living in the Gap

April 27, 2012 – Better than anything (or is it?)

I’ve often made a “Better Than Sex” cake, and decide this will make an excellent dessert for the weekend. I find an easier recipe in a cookbook using a cake and pudding mix except it’s called “Better Than Anything” cake. Maybe it’s a recipe for the politically correct? Anyway, I decide to go with the time saver. The mixer whirls and whips combining chocolate powders, eggs, oil, and sour cream. I pour it into the prepared pan and attempt to place it in my preheated oven when I see the chopped pecans and chocolate chips staring back at me from the counter. Oops! What’s a lady in a time crunch to do? Well, I stir those babies right into the mix in the pan anyway! Now I sit here waiting, sniffing (and salivating, I might add,) as chocolate permeates the house. Hmmmm, will it still be better than anything?

Corridors Of Life

(Photo Credit: DirtMan)

As we walk through the corridors of life, boards creak and shadows linger.

When we find the source of creaks and see the shadows for what they are, we find they aren’t obstacles at all. They are merely substance along the journey; things that make us stop and think before we continue. Sometimes we need to reevaluate and other times we need to appreciate the moment for what it us.

We are not promised the passageway to be clear, but we can be assured we will be lifted if we stumble.

There will always be lights to guide us and beams to hold us up. We must find it within ourselves to trust the light and build our support system.

When we listen we will find the heartbeat and footsteps we hear belong to us. The shadows are the fears we’ve cast upon our lives, and most importantly the door we see ahead is the one we’re supposed to walk through.

Shadows can not exist without a source of light, and neither can we.

Look deep. Find your source. Continue the walk.

Living in the Gap

April 24, 2012 – Laundry

The aroma of fresh meadows fills the air. I inhale deeply and take in the clean and probably a bit of lint as well. I love the smell of laundry drying. I love the warmth of the air. I feel at home. Clean Cotton. Fresh Linen. The candle and air freshener companies differ in their names. I guess “clothes dryer” is not a name to sell candles or sprays…

Living in the Gap

April 25, 2012 – Dancing Cardinals

The male Cardinal strutted about in his bright red attire. He danced to and fro in an effort to woo her. She thrust her drab feathers toward him and scooted off. He puffed his suit of feathers, making himself big and somehow his color brighter. The birds continued the flirtation until another female skirted across the driveway and perched herself upon the limb of a dead forsythia bush. Flowering bushes on each side hid her from his view but still he knew she was there…he flew over her and she trailed along. The other female who played hard to get realized she had competition and chased after them. A slight flutter of red drifted through the air and disappeared.

Breathing In This Space

Living in the Gap

April 21, 2012 – Lost

I think I’m supposed to turn right on this street. I second guess myself and turn right on the next street. I keep going realizing I am lost. I ask someone how to get where I want to go. I was supposed to have taken the turn I talked myself out of. In the process I come upon something I’d been looking for anyway so the loss of direction isn’t in vain. How often do we second guess ourselves only to hear someone else say we were headed in the right direction the first time? How often are we rewarded when we are side-tracked? I’ve come to learn that even when I doubt myself I am still right where I am supposed to be.

Living in the Gap

April 22, 2012 – Burning a candle

This is the first candle I’ve ever purchased with a wooden wick so I’m not sure what to expect. Fire flames instantly, and at double the height of a regular wick. It crackles and roars like a fireplace. I wait thinking it will calm in a bit. The flame continues to roar so I settle in and enjoy my fake fireplace with the added bonus of seaside scent. Nothing like a bonfire on the beach inside on a rainy day!

Living in the Gap

April 23, 2012-Apples in the mist

Rain drops bead on the grass, flowers, and tree limbs. The wetness has awakened the scents of spring. The Carolina Spice bush is enticing…smells as if I’m walking in an apple orchard. I remember early mornings of my childhood; tennis shoes drinking the dew as I run through rows of apple trees while Daddy gets his workers started in the orchard. As I inhale the sweet smell of apples rotting on the ground and the ones ripe for picking on the tree I feel as if I’ve reversed time.

An Acceptable And Excusable Affair

Sometimes we allow Jack and Ginger to meet at our place and mix it up. We figure it’s probably safer to play here than at a bar.

Alone Jack’s got a bite. Bring a bit of spicy Ginger into the picture and he mellows out. If not enough, a little ice will chill him. As for Ginger, it really takes the right man to settle her down. In this case, Jack seems to do the trick.

My friends Jack and Ginger say there is really no recipe for success in their relationship. Mostly it’s chemistry…and maybe timing. (Timing as in the mood to really want them around.) They just get together. Yes, they just ice it and mingle! As soon as they enter the room, stress lessons and moods elevate. Their occasional presence can make a bad day bearable and a good day better.

Spin Cycle: Cocktails

Living in the Gap

April 19, 21012 –Drizzle

Rain trickles over the roof and spits at the windows. The sky is absent of color; no gray hues as the green leaves of the tree limbs simply fade into white. Though the sun doesn’t show its face the pastiness of the sky brightens as it lifts itself above the trees. Birds are a twitter…maybe the early bird really does get the worm.

Living in the Gap

April 20, 2012 – Red Glass

Light flows through the scarlet vase perched upon the window sill. No flowers fill its emptiness, but its rosy glow fills the kitchen. From inside the pink silhouette reflecting in the window square appears to be blooms on the bush outside.

Responding From The Heart

We often only halfway listen to those around us.

We think we excel at multitasking, but ultimately someone suffers because they have not received our undivided attention.

We mix things up. Or we think we know what they mean.

When we assume rather than ask questions, we proceed to take the task at hand to a new level which is probably where no one intended on going in the first place.

We take what is not about us and make it all about us.

We take other people’s experiences and throw ourselves into the equation.

While we might be affected by their actions, it seldom has little if anything to do with us.

On the rare occasion it is about us, we put ourselves center stage rather than in a minor role. What others say and do tells more about them than us. Our response says everything about us.

Why do we allow others that kind of power over us? Are we too insecure to trust our own instincts?

We have the power to keep their business about them by not responding or reacting.

No immediate reaction is usually the best policy.  A good rule is to breathe deeply before responding in word or action. Give yourself time to think. Step away if you must.

This attitude keeps things where they belong and in perspective. Those that judge us as uncaring for not reacting are still saying more about themselves than us.

We have the option of being part of the problem or part of the solution.

We have nothing to prove to anyone but ourselves. What does your heart say?

We should not choose our responses to impress upon others but to be true to ourselves while also keeping a clear perspective.

While others should not guilt, shame, bully, or intimidate us into seeing things their way, we should not operate with a personal agenda either.

We need to listen clearly. Trust what we are hearing. Act in accordance.

If we are driven by need, desire, or retaliation, it will be obvious in our response.

If they are driven by those same things, their reaction to our response will tell the truth.

When we take the time to communicate from a place of love and understanding, we can always find mutual ground.

Look, listen, love…you can do it!

Living in the Gap

April 17, 2012 –  Squirrel Stealing Birdseed

I see fluttering about the bird feeder we’d just set up. I am all excited as I think the birds have discovered it. I get closer to see a squirrel has looped his tail around the steel rod and is handing upside down shaking the feeder with all he’s got!

He drops to the base and fills his mouth with seed and lifts himself himself atop the wire to enjoy his snack. Who knew squirrels were such high wire acrobats?

He decides to get a closer inspection to see if there is any way he can eat directly from the holes rather than having to work up sweat for his meal. He goes back to shaking, shimmying, and swinging the feeder. From a distance I watch his determination pay off a little at a time.

Living in the Gap

April 18, 2012 – Designer Dress in the Sky

A jet rips across the morning sky, tearing a powdered streak into the periwinkle blue. Another follows below the line and then one above it. The sky becomes a striped blue spring dress. Contrails expand, soften, and fade into the blue much like patterned fabric after many washings.

When The Sun Goes Down…

When the sun goes down

another day dawns. It’s always refreshing to get a new start.

Living in the Gap

April 14, 2012 – Morning Light

Curtain panels swelled with sunlight. Sun threatened to burst through the gold brocade fabric. Threads simmered as if on the verge of explosion.

Living in the Gap

April 15, 2012 – Cardinals

The female cardinal suspended herself above the hanging geranium while the bright red male pecked between cobblestones. They met up on the lawn edge and twitted about until they fluttered to the greenery of a hedge.

Living in the Gap

April 16, 2012 – Sky at dusk

Pink trimmed trees glowed against a purple sky. Crickets had a full blown orchestra playing from my neighbor’s back yard. The moon stood watch high above while airplanes twinkled across the sky like shooting stars.

Be aTree of Life

I never saw a discontented tree.  They grip the ground as though they liked it, and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do.  They go wandering forth in all directions with every wind, going and coming like ourselves, traveling with us around the sun two million miles a day, and through space heaven knows how fast and far!  ~John Muir

Plant your trunk solid in the ground so you know where you belong.

Let your limbs sway with the wind so you know the feeling of freedom.

Stretch to the shining sun knowing the sky does not limit you.

Take your space but allow room for others to join you…share the joy of life.

When you’re pounded by the rain, soak in the moisture and enjoy the message.

Remember the stories that pass your way in this life…learn your lessons.

Let others climb you when they need a lift, but don’t be afraid to let them go.

While some may cling to you, shake off those that stifle you.

Wrap your arms around love and hold on to what is dear to you.

Graciously spread out and make your presence known.

Take pleasure in life. Dance with the moon and stars.

Let your inhibitions go. Sing with the wind.

Be a friend. Smile at the sun.

Never forget the dangers of fire.

Be grateful for the rain that nourishes your soul.

Reach out far and wide. Extend your invitation to life.

Living in the Gap

April 13, 2012 – Wispy luminous clouds

Wispy clouds scattered about the sky. A line of demarcation separated the descending sun. It was as if a veil was dropping on one side of the sky while the other was lifting in light as the sun pushed its way down through the clouds. Balls of cotton floated in a blue pond at dusk…a sight to behold.

Spring “Breaking” My Back

“Spring is the time of plans and projects.” – Leo Tolstoy (Anna Karenina)

I am the type of person who likes to make big plans without thinking through the full scope of what I’m about to take on. I like to run with an idea based solely on my perceived outcome of the project. I dream and jump into my vision while Dirt Man is a methodical planner.

We don’t take a spring break now that our kids are grown, but with the crisp air and shining sun we’ve filled our time with many tasks. I’ve busied myself making our yard a bird, hummingbird, and butterfly oasis. I’ve had Dirt Man hanging flower baskets, garden flags, and wind chimes.

After cleaning, but before the paint job.

…And then I birthed the bright idea of painting our shed. (You see we had our house a few years ago. The gray shed withWilliamsburgblue trim did not match the house, and I had an intense desire to remedy that.) I thought we’d slap a little paint about and be over it! Ha, I forgot this involved the engineer (Dirt Man). Did I know we had to scrub the shed with TSP first to remove dirt and mildew? Well no, I’d never given that much thought. I planned to cover it up….you know like a supersized band aid. That didn’t fly withDirtMan.We spent one evening scrubbing the shed. After about two minutes of scrunching and twisting my neck while hanging on a ladder and stretching my arms to reach under the eaves, I was ready to call it quits. However, I kept my mouth shut since it was my idea in the first place, (I have this terrible problem with admitting I am wrong and being defeated.) So we scrubbed, wiped, and sprayed, and stretched and pulled our muscles and bones until they ached and we could hardly move. The shed looked good, but I wondered how our bodies would ever endure long enough to paint the whole thing. The next day Dirt Man caulked the shed. A few days later (after the shed had thoroughly dried…and no I didn’t know that part was necessary either!) we were ready to purchase our paint. Of course by then dirt had blown against the lower portions of the shed and I had to wipe those down. I was instructed throughout the process as I tended to apply too little paint – I was being careful not too apply too much, after all I didn’t want my paint job to be all drippy, runny, and streaky! Our bodies survived the job! The following day Youngest helped Dirt Man put a second coat on the trim. Voila, what an eye brightener!

Ah yes, much better!

This was probably not the greatest idea to have thrown at a man just six weeks out of back surgery, but he held up well. I’m ashamed to admit, his body fared better than mine. But hey, the shed not only matches the siding on the house but it brightens up the yard!

In appreciation, I even planted a lilac bush beside the shed. Can’t you just imagine opening the window and smelling that lovely scent? Now Dirt Man can work at his bench and look at the pretty blooms…oh yeah, that’s something I’d do…that is if I was trusted to play with power tools!

The Spin Cycle: Spring Break

Living in the Gap

April 12, 2012 – Talking with Daddy

The phone rang.

“Your daddy wants to talk to you.” My father NEVER dials the phone…my mother has to do all that and hand it over to him.

We talked about rocks, gardening, and the farmer’s almanac. My father plants according to “the signs” and even times his haircuts the same way. We planned a “rock hunting excursion” for my next visit. There is a certain type of rock (a white quartz or similar) I want to border around one of my flower beds and Daddy knows just where to find them in the woods.  Conversation flowed and time flew by. Of course, no conversation is complete unless Daddy includes a couple of stories. I treasure those moments.

Choosing To Let Go

Are your apologies congruent with your actions? Do you say one thing and do another? Sending conflicting messages? Or perhaps someone is doing this to you.

It’s difficult to forgive the unapologetic. But until you do, your life will remain stagnant. You can’t flourish in a broken system.

Forgiving doesn’t mean you are excusing ill behavior. You are simply moving past it.

Withholding forgiveness and suppressing anger is like letting poison seep into your body. Eventually it manifests itself in other ways, impairing emotional and physical health.

We often save others at the cost of ourselves. We must learn to release the offenses that hold us down.

Sometimes we are wronged and deeply hurt and forgiveness doesn’t seem like an option. When we dwell on pain, it eats away at us and causes us to be bitter.

It’s normal to feel anger and pain, but we can’t allow it to build up and suffocate us.

Though difficult to regain a broken trust, we can still choose not to let resentment rule our lives.

It’s easier to let go of pain than it is to hang on to hurt and anger. We benefit from letting go of grudges as we free ourselves by forgiving. When we stop focusing on our pain and anger we can get on with life. This isn’t to say we’re opening ourselves up for more hurt involving this person. It is merely to say we’ve let this situation go.

Sometimes we must distance ourselves from toxic people. It’s alright to protect ourselves by establishing boundaries or limiting content. After all what is experience if we refuse to learn from it?

We must realize the infraction was most likely about them not us. This perspective makes forgiveness much easier. Not taking things personally allows our hearts to open and forgiveness to enter. Though we can’t change the way people act, we can change the way we react to the things they do and say.

Both apologies and forgiveness must be sincere, heart felt and soul given. It allows both parties to move on.

Peace does not enter an angry soul. To forgive is to heal. To heal is to invite peace into our lives.

Living in the Gap

April 11, 2012 – Noisy Breakfast

Chomp. Crunch. Chew. Gulp. Guzzle. Spoon by spoon, the racket continues. It’s too early for this clatter. Is it me or the cereal that’s so noisy? Oh, that’s right, the cereal goes snap, crackle, pop…sorry, guess it’s me!